These Handy Flavor Packs Turn Ground Meat (or Tofu) Into an Incredible Meal—and Quick
It was recently brought to my attention that I am keeping too many condiments in my refrigerator. My boyfriend, with whom I share a home and a fridge, recently pointed out that he believes 40 percent of our fridge is occupied with condiments... which he says is too much.
The problem is that I like to be able to cook foods inspired by lots of different cuisines, and each cuisine has its own vocabulary of flavors that you access through different condiments. For Thai cooking, it’s fish sauce, lime, and chilis. For Szechuan cooking, I use lots of Szechuan chiles, dark soy sauce, and sesame oil. The ingredients do add up quickly, which is why I was so excited to learn about Omsom, a new company that sells shelf-stable starters that have all the sauces, aromatics, and seasonings you need to create flavor-packed Asian dishes.
I tried their core three starter packs, which give you a shortcut to Thai larb, Filipino sisig and Vietnamese lemongrass barbecue. The sampler comes with two packs of each flavor, for just $29. Let me just go ahead and tell you, it’s worth every penny.
Each packet comes with a simple (but chef-designed) recipe for a more traditional version of the dish, but they’re easy to adapt with whatever you have at home. Last night, I used the larb kit to season some shrimp I found in the back of my freezer. Once the shrimp was seared, I removed it from the heat and stirred in the flavor packet, sprinkled it with the toasted rice powder that also comes with the larb packet, and served it over rice. I added a handful of herbs I found wilting in the back of my fridge, and dinner was ready—not to mention, incredibly delicious.
When I brought it to the table, my condiment-shaming boyfriend was absolutely awestruck. We agreed it was one of the best dishes I’ve made in at least a month, and it broke us out of the cereal-for-dinner rut we were definitely in. Another big plus? It only took one pot, with no chopping or prepping required. A definite dinnertime win. Sisig and Lemongrass Barbecue are just as easy, and just as delicious, with so much punchy flavor, I couldn’t quite believe they came from such a cute little package. There’s no question in my mind that these will become pantry staples for me. In fact, I’m already plotting my next meal. I’m thinking pork belly barbecue.